Category Archives: Popular

Diaspora Still

Diaspora was a project with huge promise, and that promise still remains. I think people were ok with some growing pains, but much of the design was not well considered. It was confusing to join and participate. Also — people … Continue reading

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Algorithms and self-fulfilling prophesies

Google Now, the app that does your search before you realize you need it, added a new term to its service recently. It now has the ability to use the mic and camera without your permission, i.e. without notifying you … Continue reading

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Webmakers

Note: I created this graphic before I started working for Mozilla. A map of Mozilla Webmaker tools and services with a look at how people might enter this domain and move between the elements. It identifies a few opportunities to … Continue reading

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Phatic in Design

In linguistics, a phatic expression is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information. Small talk and polite exchanges concern the channel of communication, but the words do not carry literal meaning. Speaker … Continue reading

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Steal an Election without Tampering with Votes

Most major tech news outlets reported about a last minute, untested software change to voting machines in Ohio before the 2012 Presidential Election. The change was made by a Republican. Since the Republicans lost this election in Ohio, the story … Continue reading

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Drone Attacks & the Semantics of Responsibility

US Drones are actively used in military and CIA operations abroad, well beyond the boundaries of war.1 The US Media, even when critical, gives autonomy and agency to these devices. Domestic police departments have started using them as well, further … Continue reading

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The seats told me to do it

All the data in a world infused with sensors can’t yet transform an experience that we negotiate on the fly. We think in numbers and words, but react from impulse much more difficult to wire, network, and display. Running a … Continue reading

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Boundaries and Transitions from Symbiotic to Assimilated

Question: What happens when one life form leverages and then absorbs the function of another life form, when a symbiotic relationship becomes a subroutine? In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific … Continue reading

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ambient feedback

Two colleagues of mine recently shared stories that beautifully illustrate the idea of ambient or integrative civic engagement. A divider built on the road through a small Indian town inadvertently prevented residents from crossing, forcing them to walk miles out … Continue reading

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Visualizing Bankruptcy at the Library

Bankruptcy by the Books: Visualizing Bankruptcy at the Seattle Public Library Between 2005 and 2010, use of the Seattle Public Library and guide books on personal law and bankruptcy reflect the financial instability and crisis throughout the United States. Do … Continue reading

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New social network connects people by gut flora

The idea is to connect people with similar intestinal bacteria so that they can share their diets and personal anecdotes, helping both the participants and the researchers to better understand which types of gut flora react positively or negatively to … Continue reading

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English as Code

English is a terribly irregular language, an inefficient code for communication. But within its conflicting rules and hodge-podge origins lies a strength. English has a profound capacity to adapt and absorb and remix. Its flexibility makes it a terrific tool … Continue reading

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Disease Markets Crash

When technology allowed the financial sector to make transactions that exceeded the speed of the underlying business, the sector popped, detached, and began operating in the abstract. In this¬†vacuum, the rules changed. Meanwhile, manufacturing, housing, and other real-world business were … Continue reading

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Navigating Dissent

I’ve drafted a design for a mobile application to help protesters map barriers, gatherings, and other facets of a dynamic protest. This information can be gathered to provide the community with a real-time birds-eye view of the activity, helping them … Continue reading

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